Coincidentally, an editorial in this week’s Macleans magazine (http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-editorial-can-we-end-the-car-bike-detente/) asks the question: Can we end the car-bike détente?
I’m not sure the editors are using the word “détente” properly unless they are advocating for the ending of the easing of tensions? Does that mean they want things to get worse or better? I’m not sure from the headline. But the text suggests the latter so I’ll take them at their word.
There are some interesting stats here: “Academic research from Montreal, which boasts a well-developed 600-km system of bike paths, reveals separate cycle routes have a 28 per cent lower injury rate than comparable roads where bikes and cars are forced to compete for the same road space. Elsewhere in North America, the experience is similarly noteworthy. Between 1996 and 2005, 225 bicyclists died on New York roads in collisions with vehicles, but just one fatality occurred when the cyclist was in a marked bike lane.”
I wonder how many of the 225 cyclists were crazy couriers? I assure you couriers do not and will not use bike lanes. And how many pedestrians were killed by vehicles in New York? In 2013 alone, 286 pedestrians were killed in the Big Apple. (http://www.villagevoice.com/2014-02-05/news/nyc-pedestrian-deaths/)
But this Calgary pilot looks promising. “Like many other big cities, Calgary is planning a major bike lane development in its downtown core, set to open next summer. And yet, this plan is not being presented as a fait accompli in favour of cyclists. Rather, it’s a one-year pilot program, after which the city will judge its success or failure against numerous performance indicators that take into account the interests of all parties.” Maybe Olivia Chow should not flippantly commit to constructing 200 more kilometres of cycle paths until the city takes into account the interests of all parties.
I guess now is a good time to show you what I drive when I’m not riding my bike: